Consider Noise Abatement

Consider Noise Abatement

Excess noise is detrimental to health. Studies have found that noise causes the body to release stress hormones that increase the risk of heart attack and other health issues. This is true even when the noise levels are not extreme. For this reason, an important consideration in new home construction is noise abatement. Using construction techniques that insulate the homeowner from external noise sources can contribute to an environment that is relaxing and healthy.

Wall construction is the builder’s first line of protection against noise.

Choosing to decouple the framing in the walls is helpful because sound waves are no longer able to travel uninterrupted from one end of the wall to the other. This is only the first step, however. After the walls are framed, insulation should be added. Fiberglass insulation works well, but should not be packed in tightly, as it will then conduct sound rather than muffling it.

Add mass to the wall by using a heavy weight of drywall.

It is difficult for sound to move through heavy walls, which is why people who live in adobe or straw bale homes with thick walls report a great deal of protection from noise. In traditional construction, builders can add two 5/8” thick pieces of drywall to each wall for effective soundproofing. While additional layers may be added, the increased effectiveness will be minimal.

For additional soundproofing, use Green Glue between layers of drywall.

This product reduces both airborne and impact noise, and is easily applied with a standard caulk gun. Existing construction can be improved by using a layer of Green Glue to add additional sheets of drywall where needed.  Use the glue to seal any gaps near the ceiling or floor, as leaving a gap will let in sound the same way leaving a window cracked on a cold day will allow cold air to enter the home.

Keep an eye on new developments in soundproofing technology, as new products are entering the market.

For example, the acoustics department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP have recently developed microperforated construction components that work for a variety of applications. These components consist of sheets that are perforated with tiny slits that generate friction with the air carrying the sound wave, resulting in superior sound absorption.

It is likely that as public awareness of the importance of auditory health continues to build, that construction that has been built with noise abatement in mind will be more valued than structures that do not account for this issue.

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